Word of the Day : August 17, 2014

crazy-quilt

play
adjective KRAY-zee-KWILT

Definition

: resembling a patchwork quilt without a design : haphazard

Did You Know?

A crazy quilt is a quilt with no perceivable design or pattern, lacking repeating motifs, and often made out of discarded scraps of cloth. Shortly after crazy quilts became popular in the late nineteenth century, the term "crazy quilt" found a place in English as a metaphor for things that appear random, unplanned, or out of order; for example, testimony in the 1896 Proceedings of the Illinois State Bar Association asserted that "We all know that as juries are instructed now, the instructions are a crazy-quilt-just a crazy-quilt, and nothing else." The adjective came about soon afterward. A more common term to describe crazy quilts, "patchwork," also describes something composed of ill-assorted, miscellaneous, or incongruous parts.


Examples

"No one questioned her comings and goings; her crazy-quilt schedule was attributed to familial and civic duties." - Toni Cade Bambara, Those Bones Are Not My Child, 1999

"The crazy quilt nature of the music Miles Davis made at the Fillmore in 1970 is one of its best features. His rowdy players showed him other ways to bring the funk." - Kevin Whitehead, National Public Radio, May 16, 2014



Test Your Memory

Fill in the blank in this sentence from our July 31st Word of the Day: "Ralph was extremely pleased when his employer purchased a new computer system to replace the ______ that had continually crashed at critical moments." The answer is …


Podcast


More Words of the Day

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!